Chapter 20 - The Mites and the Missing

Rova 10 – The town guards warn the group that a bunch of kobolds are approaching. When the group goes to meet the kobolds, they find them injured and tired, led by Jeruk. He informs them that Chief Sootscale is dead. The mites have returned, coming up below the Sootscale Caverns and ambushing them in the night.

The group houses the kobolds at Vors’ shrine and heads to the caverns. They track the mites for days through the tunnels and caves below Sootscale Caverns, until the tunnels open up to a large underground city. Seeing that the place is populated by monstrous creatures, and assuming that they would not be friendly to humans or dwarves, the group returns to the surface to come up with a plan to disguise themselves.

Rova 22 – Over the next few days, the group tracks down several hats of disguise. Also during this time Thali returns with a fairly big chunk of money, her previous companions dead. When Volgrin speaks to her about this, she gets the wrong idea and thinks that he is making romantic advances. She pushes further and they end up sleeping together, though she did not answer any questions about her previous adventures in the swamp.

Rova 25 – The group returns to the underground city, which they find is named Horslavin. They use their hats of disguise to blend in and venture into the city. They question the bartender of a particularly lively pub and find that the mites are hiding out in a desolate part of the city called The Forsaken Ghetto.

When they get there, they find the mites hiding in a dark cellar. The mites, led again by Grabbles, who has apparently survived his fall, admit to having attacked the kobolds. They say it was revenge for their previous encounter. The group argues about how to handle the situation. Yuri is vehemently against hurting them. Instead, they force the mites to promise not to return to the surface. When the group leaves, Stan and Yuri again argue, as Stan tries to nail the cellar door shut.

When the group returns to the Sootscale Caverns, Vors uses his stoneshape magic to close the caves off, so that more creatures cannot come up from below.

Neth 3 – As an apology for their previous argument, Stan carves Yuri a small wooden statue of Mikmak. She is temporarily sated.

Neth 4 Zlasta comes to Stan, saying that she has not heard from her parents in some time. They had left over a month ago to stay at Varnhold until the wedding, but that had been in regular contact through letters. Also, mysteriously the shipment of goods from Varnhold did not arrive this month.

Stan agrees to go with her to Varnhold just to check and see what is going on. They have a nice ride through the countryside, where they talk about the wedding. When they get to Varnhold, however, all conversation is cut short as they find the place completely abandoned. The bridge that crosses the river lies broken in the water. The door of the Waterhorse, Varnhold’s inn and tavern, hangs from its hinges. The streets are empty. Not a single person, living or dead, is in sight.

When they look into the tavern, they see a single large creature, seemingly held in place by magic, the back of it’s head blown out, droplets of its blood and skull fragments still floating in the air. The table it stands in front of is covered in papers and books.

Stan decides to head towards the stockyard, where Maegar Varn himself stays. When they approach however, he sees humanoid creatures walking along the walls. When they spot him, they immediately fire arrows. Stan and Zlasta are forced to flee Varnhold and ride through the night until they reach the safety of Cedwyn. Zlasta, very frightened from the whole ordeal, asks for Stan to stay the night in her bed.

It seems as if there may be something to their relationship after all.

Neth 5 – The next day, Stan tells the rest of the group what he found in Varnhold. They ride over to the town and find it as Stan described. Vors is able to identify the creature in the Waterhorse as a Spriggan – a fey creature that has the ability to grow from it’s normal three foot height to a large nine-foot warrior.

The papers and books on the table are research books on Iobarian history and information about the Nomen centaurs. Also, there is a letter, sent from Maegar Varn to a Maester Pendrod, requesting his presence to examine a jade bracelet that Willas Gunderson found on the banks of a local river.

When they are leaving the tavern, Vors notices a strange raven that seems to be watching them. When he tries to speak to the bird, the raven attempts to fly away. Vors looses an arrow and brings the creature down. When they approach to examine the bird, however, it begins laughing, a guttural voice that no bird would be capable of. Then, without warning, it explodes into a fireball.

The group spends some time watching the Stockyards, examining the creatures that seem to be roaming the grounds. They begin forming a plan as to how to get into the well-guarded place, as that may be where the townsfolk are being held.


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